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What is Data Sourcing: Top Data Sources for Business

Data Sourcing Success: Top Data Sources to Include in Your Data Management

Managing data is a core function of every organization.

In the past, data management was done manually, but Gartner estimates that through to the end of 2022, 45% of manual tasks will be automated. This is a good thing, as automated data services can help maintain a high level of data quality and streamline data sourcing. 

Master Data Management (MDM) can help you wrangle your most important data and keep it in one place. But using your data effectively requires understanding where it comes from and why it matters.

In this article, we’ll discuss what data sourcing is and how it relates to MDM. We’ll also explore how a modern MDM system can make it quicker and easier.

What is a Data Source?

A data source is a place where information about your company’s products, customers, people, places, and finances comes from. A data source could be the database itself, but it’s more useful to think of it as information that informs the database.

For example, if you’re tracking customer information, your point-of-sale system might be a data source, while the spreadsheet where you store it is the database.

Knowing where your data came from can help you understand what it means and how to use it to further your business objectives. For example, financial information from a government agency might be publicly available, while the same kind of data from a hospital is often highly sensitive.

What is Data Sourcing?

Data sourcing is the process of collecting data for use later on.

Imagine you’re trying to collect data from a new client. If it’s a small business, you could possibly collect it from a single shared folder.

If your client is a larger business, you may need to collect the data from a lot of different tools that the client is currently using or has used in the past. To do so, you’ll need to list the most valuable sources and build a process to collect the data in an organized way.

What are the Most Important Data Sources?

There is a wide variety of sources for business data, ranging from machine data sources like marketing platforms to paper spreadsheets.

The most important data sources vary by industry, but most businesses require all of these categories in some capacity.

Customer Data

Customer file data sources can include physical documents, spreadsheets, transaction data, CRM platforms like Hubspot, customer data platforms like Tealium, and customer service software like Zendesk or Salesforce.

Many customer-facing industries such as eCommerce or retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) rely heavily on transactions and interactions data sources.

Marketing Data

This is data sourced from both external marketing tools like Marketo, ConstantContact, and Mailchimp, as well as internal CSV files. It might also come from SurveyMonkey responses, marketing intelligence platforms like ZoomInfo, or traffic platforms like Google Analytics or Google Search Console. These tools and applications can be a critical supplier of customer and prospect data.

Most industries can benefit from marketing data, especially high tech, retail, travel, and insurance industries.

Organizational Data

Company data sources provide insights into the operational facets of your business, including workforce info, IT data, and organizational structure. For larger companies, especially tech companies, this data is instrumental when it comes to operational success.

Social Data

Similar to marketing data, social sources include social media apps and aggregate tools like Hootsuite and Sprinklr. For consumer-facing industries like retail and CPG, social data sources are especially crucial.

Communication Data

Lastly, communication data sources include meeting tools like Zoom, IT resolution tools, online chat software, or anything that provides information about internal or external communications.

It’s important to be intentional with data sourcing. Which data sources do you need to help your business function? Which are useful in making crucial business decisions?

What is Master Data?

Master data is a single, unified record of all core information that provides context for your business transactions. It can be implemented in two ways: operationally and analytically.

Operational Master Data

When you’re using master data operationally, you’re using it to run your business. For example, people in your company may need to access master data to resolve a customer issue or create a blog post about a product. They need quick access to the right data source systems to get the information they need.

Analytical Master Data

When using master data analytically, you’re conducting analyses and creating reports that inform the direction and vision of your business. These can be financial reports, or perhaps business intelligence reports. In these cases, you need to choose the most relevant, trusted sources of data.

Keeping Data Clean and Efficient

It’s dangerous to use incorrect or useless data to power and steer your business. You may end up wasting time and incurring extra costs to fix issues that arise.

That’s why it’s important to clean master data regularly. This means it must be free of errors, up to date, and relevant to the task at hand.

Accessing your company data sources should be as efficient as possible, regardless of how many different platforms you use. If your data isn’t accessible, costly delays in your business processes can result.

How MDM Systems Improve Data Sourcing

The most effective solution to the problem of innumerable data sources is to integrate data into a single source of truth using an MDM solution

MDM systems can connect to your data sources to create a single source of truth for all your data. They also help you prepare data for importing and offer a high-level view of what data sources are actually working for you. 

Not only that, a modern MDM system like Reltio’s Connected Data Platform can help ensure the quality of your company’s master data. It can provide a perspective of your master data to help you figure out how best to manage it, and understand why you’re managing it in the first place. 

To learn more about how to integrate your data sources and improve your data quality, request a demo of Reltio’s platform.

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